Digital exclusion: It’s not a bug, it’s a feature

On September 7, 2020, I´m giving a talk at the Data Wise program at University of Groningen. It’s based on my PhD thesis and related work. Check out the abstract below.


When the internet grew into a mainstream technology, it came with the widespread expectation that it will have inclusive and democratizing effects on society. Never before did so many people have access to so much information. Maybe even more significant were the new possibilities to produce and disseminate it. Suddenly, there was an unprecedented independence from the gatekeepers who used to control information flows. In 2020, there is not much left of this initial euphoria. Stories on fake news, hate speech, privacy violations and algorithmic discrimination frame our perception of the internet. Many blame digital platforms. They dominate the internet and have emerged as its gatekeepers. But how do they actually perform this task? Would we be better off without them or can their decision-making at least be improved? The presentation gives an introduction into platforms’ gatekeeping processes and discusses a value that has regained grounds to make them more inclusive: Diversity.